Although we can all agree that we have a limited amount of physical energy to use a day, we often neglect the fact that we have a limited amount of mental energy too.
Our brains are incredibly complex and constantly working, and every time we exercise our mind, we’re consuming some of that mental energy.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to how you’re using this extremely valuable (and limited) resource to ensure that you’re being the most efficient and productive you can be. Here are a few ways to help you conserve your energy for the things that are most important.
1. Mono-task, don’t multi-task.
The ability to multi-task has been applauded by society as a sign of efficiency. But switching between jobs actually leads to mental exhaustion more quickly than focusing on one task at a time.
Don’t fall into the trap of mistaking activity for achievement.
By focusing on one task at a time, you’ll be able to save the amount of energy consumed when refocusing, leading you to become more productive and efficient.
Would you like to start doing this now? Download our free worksheet to help you get started straight away. You can get it here.
2. Practice the 80/20 rule.
Somewhere along the line you’re likely to have heard of the 80/20 rule; a simple principle that states that 20% of your tasks contribute to 80% of your success.
Applying this rule to your consumption of mental energy is a great way to prioritise your mental output. Simply start by identifying the tasks that are most crucial to your success, and refocus your mental strength to tackle those first.
You can then work your way down to implement the other 80% of work that is still important, but won’t have as big an impact on your overall results.
3. Focus on the big things first.
When it comes to putting your mental energy to good use, make sure you tackle your biggest, most important tasks first thing in the morning with a clear and energised brain.
To help you figure out what the most important task is, ask yourself which tasks you are likely to procrastinate on if you don’t tackle them right away.
This is a good indication that these are the jobs that you should be focusing on first thing in the morning.
4. Automate the simple stuff.
Decision-making is a huge drain on mental energy. That’s why habits and routines are a great way to conserve your energy and be more productive.
Find a system that works best for you and then repeat it every day. This way it will become an engrained and intuitive task that doesn’t require thought or decision-making, freeing up mental capacity for more important work.
This will also mean that you no longer need to rely on willpower to make good decisions, such as exercising daily or choosing healthy groceries, these decisions will happen automatically without taking up unnecessary space in your mind.
5. Monitor your internal dialogue.
All too often we waste time and energy worrying about things that never materialise. That’s why it’s vital to build a keen awareness around your own thoughts so that you can start filtering out the negative patterns that are keeping you from realising your full potential.
As soon as negative thoughts start creeping in, take a moment to observe your thinking and then make a conscious decision to refocus on something more positive.
Not only will this have an impact on your general outlook, but by letting go of the things that don’t really matter you’ll have more energy to focus on the things that really do.
6. Avoid unrealistic expectations.
Another common energy drain is brought about by unrealistic expectations. Constantly striving for perfection in every aspect of life can be mentally taxing and extremely time consuming.
Rather select the most important tasks to your overall growth and well-being, and focus all your energy into striving for perfection in these specific areas. Be realistic about what you’re able to achieve in one day, instead of spreading yourself too thin in all directions.
This helps you prioritise and know when to put in energy and when to refocus it elsewhere.
Would you like some help to do this? Download our free worksheet to help you get started now! You can grab it here.
Decision-making is tough at the best of times. But making a decision that goes against the norms of society, popular opinion, or the beliefs of those closest to you, can feel downright impossible. Whether you’re deciding to leave a successful career to follow your true passions, or choosing not to have children despite the pressures to start a family, there will always be people around you who will tell you that the choice you are making is wrong.
But just because your choices don’t fit the traditional mould, doesn’t mean that you should be too afraid to do what is right for you. Here’s four steps that can help you make those big decisions that go against the grain.
1. How does it make you feel?
Imagine making the difficult decision and taking the unpopular plunge. Picture yourself in the scenario and then ask yourself how it makes you feel. Make sure that when you do this self-reflection exercise you’re as honest with yourself as possible. You may be surprised by the feelings that come up.
2. What does your future look like?
When making any decision, it’s important to look forward and have a vision of what your life will be and also what the implications of that choice will be, as opposed to simply focusing on how the decision will impact you right now. Try to picture what your life will be like in five, even ten, years’ time. Where will you be financially, geographically, emotionally? Will the decision you make today have a positive or negative impact on your life?
3. What are your regrets?
Imagine yourself as an old person looking back on your life and reflecting on it. Will you have regrets later on about a decision you make today? Will you have bigger regrets if you don’t make the tough decision that goes against the norm. It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in your feelings and emotions, but taking a reflective look on your life can help you to get some perspective.
4. Who is in control?
The most important thing to remember when making any decision that may go against the grain, is that it is you, and only you, that will have to live your life, so why should you allow others to control it? Make sure that you’re prioritising your own happiness and investing in a life that you want to live. And remember, that if people truly care about you, they will support you in your decision even if it means your life will be different to the one they imagined for you.
Hopefully these steps will make it a bit easier to make that decision that goes against the grain. If your decision is about starting a new career, then watch our free masterclass 'How To Create A New Career Where You Thrive'. It will outline the steps you need to take, and make your decision a little bit easier. You can watch it here.
Remember it is never too late to create a life you love!
In today’s busy world, I think it’s safe to say that we could all do with a little more time. But as there are only 24 hours in a day, how exactly do you do that? One simple way to free up extra time so that you can spend it on what really matters, is it to stop procrastinating and start making decisions. Effective decision-making is also crucial if you’re looking to up your game so that you can be at your very best.
To be an effective decision maker, you need to do two things; make the best decisions and make them quickly. So, how do you make the best decisions? It’s quite simple really; first you need to get to the heart of the decision and then you need to put more options on the table.
Here’s an example of a typical decision that working mothers are often faced with; shall I start working part-time, so that I have more time to spend with my kids? In this example, the heart of the decision is having more time with your kids and the first option is working part time. But there are other options too. A second option could be to have flexible working hours. This could mean that you head home and spend some time with your kids before they go to bed, but then put in a couple of extra work hours later. Then let’s find a third option! You could hire a house PA to help with some of the household chores and grocery shopping, so that the time that you do have at home can really be spent with your kids. So, as you can see, you now have three options that address the heart of the decision. The next step is to relate these options to your big picture, so that you’re able to make the best decision. Remember, your big picture should include everything you want to have as part of your perfect life.
So, why is making quick decisions so important? The answer is simple; if you can’t make quick decisions, this can easily become the bottleneck of your life. The fact is, that your decisions are not getting better because you think about them for a week. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite. All that is really happening is that your decision making is taking your time away from more valuable things in your life.
Now that you know what you need to do to make decisions effectively, start practising and you’ll soon notice how you can free up time for the things that really matter.
What do you do to make better decisions? We would love to know. Share your tips in our Facebook Group, TAC She Sisterhood, and there you can also receive lots of valuable tips and tools to help you thrive in your life and career. Come over and say Hi!
Bye for now.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, mindset coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.